"Giving Thanks" -Wedding Rituals
Wedding ceremonies are largely focused on the bride and groom, but their families are an important part of their marriage, and there are many rituals that recognize the couple's ancestors, their God, and the path that brought them to this day.
Libation Ceremony (Africa)
Libation is a traditional African ceremony in which water is poured on the ground in the four directions that the wind comes from in remembrance and honor of the couple's ancestors, calling on them to be present to witness the marriage. Often a family elder does the honors, and guests respond to the blessing with the word ase, meaning "so it may be." Here is a sample libation prayer:
"All praise to God Almighty.
Praise to our African ancestors and roots.
God gave his power for the roots of the trees to spread its branches wide.
If man does not know his roots, then he does not know his God.
Let the spirit of God and ancestors bring us closer in unity."
Homage to the Fire God, Agni (Hindu)
The following is recited over a ceremonial fire:
"0 Lord Fire, First Created Being!
Be thou the over-lord and give food and drink to this household.
0 Lord Fire, who reigns in richness and vitality over all the worlds, comes take your proper seat in this home!
Accept the offering made here, protect the one who makes them,
be our protector on this day, 0 you who see into the hearts of all created beings!"
Tea or Sake Ceremony (China and Japan)
It is part of the wedding ceremony for the couple to present their parents with tea (in China) or sake (in Japan), to show respect and to represent the new family bond. In a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, the bride serves tea with sugar to the groom and his family, the sweetness representing a wish for sweet relations. Japanese couples each drink three sips from three sake cups, and then offer the rice drink to both sets of parents.